Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I'm Struggling With...

More often than not, when I tell people how many kids I have, I usually get raised eyebrows, shocked looks, and many comments like “wow, that’s a lot to handle.” The responses get even more dramatic when people ask if we are done having kids and I tell them that we probably want to have one more.

And while yes, physically taking care of three kids can be difficult…there are three cups to fill with drinks (which is a constant request in our house), there are three plates to fill with food, there are three baths/showers/teeth brushing at night. But while those items can be exhausting, they are not the hard part of having “so many” kids for me.

I have seen much discussion on whether the Duggars have too many kids. For the most part, I really don’t care how many kids they have or how they live their life. What I do care about, and what gets my blood boiling, are the rumors I’ve heard about how the older ones have to take care of the younger ones. I’ve even heard that they have a buddy system, and if their buddy is sick, it’s their job to take care of that child. I really don’t have the time or energy to look it up to see if it’s true, but just the thought of that makes me mad. Don’t have kids if you can’t take care of them…plain and simple. And I don’t just mean financially…I mean physically and emotionally. I just don't believe that one set of parents can meet the emotional needs of 18+ children.

Which is where my current struggle is…nightly I am bombarded with three kids who all want to do three different things. Joshie wants me to watch his hockey game, Kylie wants me to play school with her, and Ryan just wants attention or someone to throw the ball with him. And all of this on top of the nightly things I have to do (like make dinner so that we can eat!).

Thankfully I have a fantastic husband who is an amazing father. So in reality we have two adults trying to fill the needs of three kids. But of course there are times when John wants to do things by himself or with friends, and visa versa with me. And we try so hard to make everyone happy…but I still feel like I’m failing so badly in this area. Ultimately I will go to bed at night feeling like at least one person was neglected, and whether that is one of the kids or John or myself, it’s not a good feeling.

I will try to go to the playroom and watch a hockey game, while sitting in school, while throwing a ball with Ryan. But ultimately I can’t be 100% engaged in any one thing (obviously, the most I can be is 33.3333% if I'm being equally attentive). But I’m trying. And I hope the kids know that. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with them playing by themselves or learning to entertain themselves…it’s just that I like to play with them, and experience life with them!

I can tell you the happiest nights/times are when we are able to find something to do with all of them…whether it’s Ryan being down for a nap and the four of us playing a game or Wii, or whether we all go somewhere and each child is having their own fun doing the same thing.

I just hope the kids grow up knowing how hard I’m trying…and that just because I may not get it right, that doesn’t mean I love them any less or don’t love hanging out with them.


Sherry said...

Well you can now quit struggling!!! Just step back for a second and look at your children's three adorable faces. Do you see any signs of saddness? Seriously, I don't mean when one is having a tantrum etc, but just when they are playing, watching tv, eating. I can tell you without even seeing them in person that you will only see joy, content, happiness and tons of love in those adorable faces. You and your husband are so well rounded hey so what if one doesn't get alot of attention on one given day, they so know they will have their time, special day etc and that's why your famiy blends so well. You are well balanced in the love department, so girl quit beating yourself up over nothing!!!! And hey if you all want another one, great, your heart and home can certainly handle as many children as you want to have and not one of them will ever feel neglected!!! :)

Sarah said...

We have three kids (6, 4, 2) and both work full-time. It IS a constant struggle to balance work/home/quality time together, but it's well worth it. I always feel the "mommy guilt". One thing that we have done to help alleviate some of the evening chaos is to make homemade frozen meals. Whenever I'm cooking, I'll quadruple the recipe and freeze three containers so it's ready for another day. I'll put the frozen meal in the oven on the delay bake option, so it's done when I get home! Yummy, easy, and very little clean-up...Even better, there's more time to play in the evenings! Have a good day. I enjoy reading your blog!

Jillian, Inc said...

I can so relate to your struggle since I also work FT and have such limited time at home, though ours aren't nearly as close in age as yours. The mommy guilt comes into play quite often, but then my mom wasn't much of a "player" as far as getting down and doing things like coloring, games, etc. But she was always there...there cooking dinner, there doing the laundry, there to watch a show with me. She was there, at home with us, and that was really comforting to me as a child.

radioactive girl said...

I am sure your kids know how much you love them and how hard you are trying.

I often struggle with the same feelings. I love all my kids like crazy and I just wish there were more hours in the day so I could spend as much time with each of them as I want and feel like I should. In the end, I am sure your kids (and mine) know how much each of us love them. I think feeling like this is pretty normal, feeling stretched around and never feeling like it is enough. What I see here is that you love your kids so much that how could they not know that? How could that not be enough?

Anonymous said...

All your kids need to do should they ever wonder if think. They just need to think back to all the memories they have of you and John and all the time you've spent with them. When they're older, they will just need to read this blog and they will be able to tell how much you love them.

I don't think 3 children is "so many." It might be for ME, but not for a lot of people. As for the Duggars, I've actually watched that show and have seen the older children caring for the littler ones MANY MANY times. I've often wondered if the older ones are actually doing the raising in that house.